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Princeton Posse has a wild, wild west history

In its first year, the team couldn’t even afford jerseys
The first Princeton Posse team in a rare publicity photo. (Photo courtesy Lyle Thomas)

It all started 20 years ago as a way to generate revenue for the community by the newly hired recreation manager.

Lyle Thomas, whose job also included managing the arena, recognized there was plenty of unused available ice time.

He took his idea then-mayor Randy McLean,.

“I started going down the path of selling more ice…I thought, ‘Why can’t we have a Junior B team operate out of our facility that will add a fun activity for the community and increase our ice rentals and it would be a win-win?’”

McLean was uncertain, not sure the town could afford it.

There weren’t enough resources to purchase a team. While Thomas was negotiating with the Summerland Sting, he was introduced to the the owner of the Enderby Ice Kings, who was interested in relocating his organization.

“Randy got a little excited and he encouraged me to pursue it.”

The newly-named Princeton Posse was so broke that in its first year they couldn’t even afford jerseys and patches were sewn over the Enderby logos.

Enderby owner Jim Harrison eventually transferred the team to a not-for-profit society made up of local leaders, businesspeople and volunteers.

Thomas recalls fondly the early struggles of fundraising and bottle drives, and he remembers the first logo, designed by a local artist and hand-painted on the ice.

The Posse holds the regular season President’s Cup as points leader of the Kootenany International Junior Hockey League and starts play this weekend for the Teck Cup.

Thomas said the record-breaking run fans have enjoyed this year is a very fitting way for the team and the community to celebrate the 20th anniversary

Related: The Princeton Posse will ride on

Related: ‘Sprung into action’: Princeton Posse players shift focus, help community

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Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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